Those familiar with the sexy duo of Tucker and Elliot of Josh Lanyon’s All’s Fair series will be thrilled to read the latest installment, Fair Chance. Picking right up where Fair Play left off, we find Elliot right back in the arms of the special task force brought together to nail the “Sculptor” serial killer and Tucker less than enchanted with the idea that his boyfriend is in the thick of it. But his former colleague at the university, where Elliot has since gone to teach after leaving the force due to his injury, is only interested in talking to our professor at large so the story opens with Elliot visiting the killer in prison to try and get him to divulge exactly what he did with the heads of his countless victims. While there, hints of an accomplice arise and a cold chill of alarm put Elliot on alert as he tries to help Tucker and the rest of the team decipher just what the Sculptor means and who could possibly have helped him commit his atrocities.
As the investigation seems to stall, Tucker suddenly disappears and Elliot is left wondering if he has somehow misread Tucker’s promise to always be truthful and open in their relationship. With the clock ticking, it becomes apparent that Tucker’s sudden vanishing act has not been voluntary and now Elliot has to go back into the lair of a killer in order to find out exactly what happened to his lover and whether he is in time to save him.
Please note that if you have not read the first two books in this series, this review may contain spoilers from them and therefore you may want to read those first before delving into this one. Tucker and Elliot have come a long way from the on again/off again lovers they used to be who spent most of their time trying to deny their feelings for each other. Now firmly invested in being a couple and pretty much living together, the two of them find themselves working the same case—Tucker as an agent and Elliot as a civilian task force member.
Tucker tries his best to be supportive of Elliot and his role on the team, but cannot help but show how worried he is that Elliot is not physically and mentally ready to be in the spotlight again. For his part, Elliot struggles to figure out if being a professor and teaching is really what he wants to do with the rest of his life for just a taste of being back with the FBI has left him desiring to be there in some capacity. Unfortunately, his gun shot injury has left his knee less than stable and the role of being an active agent is still out of the question. One of the sub plot points to the story is the idea floating that Elliot will be asked to return to do more of a profiling/investigative research position on the force and it leaves both men wondering if their relationship will suffer if Elliot accepts once it is offered.
Another subtle and rather sexy side plot is Elliot’s growing need to play the submissive to Tucker in bed. While very subtle and mostly seen via bedroom chatting while having sex, there is still an obvious need for Elliot to submit and it makes the sexual dynamic between Tucker and himself even more exciting and goes a long way in helping to cement the feelings that have been growing between the two men. But the real difference in this novel is how the two men crave one another’s company—how they are trying hard to include each other in every aspect of their lives and build on the loving and open relationship they have been striving for over time. This is where author Josh Lanyon shines—taking it slow and allowing her characters to build into each other’s lives gradually. Watching these two men make mistakes along the way and discover just how much they mean to each other is the icing on the top of a thrilling mystery that takes us on a fairly wild ride over the course of this story.
Fair Chance had a few moments here and there where I felt a bit more story expansion could have helped. For instance, the ease with which Elliot figures out the stray dog may lead him to where Tucker is seemed to just appear out of the blue and I felt needed some more time for Elliot to suss out and come up with as a viable plan. However, despite some minor flaws, this was by far the best installment in this series yet and I hope it will not be the last.